I taught science to students from years 6, 7, 8 and 9 for a year at a state school called the Folkstone Academy in the UK. It was extremely challenging, but also one of the best years of my life.
The behaviour of the students was much harder then what I was used to, and I taught in seemingly tougher schools in Toronto. The students really challenged me and it took me a long time to gain the respect of the students before I could begin to teach them effectively. Teaching in the UK is inherently harder then Canada because the teachers have to teach more classes, are under more stress from OFSTED, and the general feeling is that higher up administration does not trust teachers the way they should.
I was inspired by all of my fellow teachers who worked long hours, cared about the kids and went the extra mile to ensure that underprivileged students had as much of a chance at a future as they could provide through their education.
It was extremely tough to get students living in poverty and challenging life scenarios to care about something as abstract as science. This is where our book becomes SO extremely important. The questions we answer through science are relatable to everyone, we talk about subjects that can hook someone who has no interest in science. This is so crucial as a science teacher and would have been a huge asset in my classroom.
Also, literacy is such an important aspect of all education, and sometimes finding books that kids want to read, especially on the subject of science can seem nearly impossible. But when we were writing this book I had in mind my experience as a teacher, and how I longed for any tool that could make science interesting or cool for my students.
Science has a strict curriculum, and one that is not properly designed to spark curiosity. I had to teach year 9 students what an atom was, this is an abstract concept that leaves science teachers having to work insanely hard to pitch this concept as something interesting. Since we had no curriculum for this book we can take a top-down approach. We can talk about farts, technology, traveling, sports, social media, video games and use these themes as ways to educate people about science. This is the way education should be, but the curriculum does not allow for this, leaving teachers to have to work extra hard and be extra creative in order to work inside the strict curriculum.
I hope this book will be an asset for all science teachers, and is something I really wish I had during my time teaching in the UK.
— Greg Brown, 2015